Omaha Hi Lo (also called “Omaha High Low”; or “Omaha 8 or Better“) has quickly become a hugely popular game all over the world specially in North America and Europe. Each player in an Omaha Hi Lo game is dealt four cards (“hole cards”) that belong only to that player. Five community cards are dealt face-up on the “board”. All players use two cards from their four hole cards in conjunction with three cards from the board to make the best five-card poker hand possible. The pot is divided between the best hand for high and the best hand for low – hence the name, Omaha Hi Lo.
Rules for Playing Omaha Hi Lo
In Omaha Hi Lo poker, a disc also known as “the button”, indicates which player is the nominal dealer for the current game. Before the game begins, the player immediately clockwise the button posts the “small blind”, typically half a small bet (for example, $1 in a $2/$4 Omaha Hi Lo game). The player immediately clockwise the small blind posts the “big blind”, which is always a full small bet ($2 in a $2/$4 omaha Hi Lo game). Now, each player receives his or her four hole cards. Betting action proceeds around the table, starting with the player on the immediately clockwise the big blind.
Now, the “flop” is dealt face-up on the board. The flop is the first three community cards available to all active players. Betting begins with the active player immediately clockwise the button. All bets and raises occur in small bets (increments of $2 in a $2/$4 game).
When betting action is completed for the flop round, the “turn” is dealt face-up on the board. The turn is the fourth community card in an Omaha Hi Lo game. Play begins with the active player immediately clockwise the button. On this round, betting doubles from the small bet to the big bet. In a $2/$4 game, betting on the turn is done in $4 increments.
When betting action is completed for the turn round, the “river” is dealt face-up on the board. The river is the fifth and final community card in an Omaha Hi Lo game. Betting begins with the active player immediately clockwise the button.
If there is more than one remaining player when the final betting round is complete, the last bettor or raiser shows his or her cards. If there was no bet on the final round, the player immediately clockwise the button shows his or her cards first. The player with the best five-card hand for high wins half the pot, and the player with the best hand for low wins the other half. In Omaha, players must use two and only two of their four hole cards in combination with three cards from the board. In the event of identical hands, the high and low shares of the pot will be equally divided between the players with the best hands. In the event that no hand qualifies for low, the best hand(s) for high wins the pot.
After the pot is awarded, a new Omaha Hi Lo game is ready to be played. The button now moves clockwise to the next player.
Omaha Hi Lo is growing very fast in popularity, especially with the exposure of online poker. So while learning the rules of Omaha Hi Lo can take some getting used to, it is an entertaining poker variant that many regular Omaha poker players, as well as Texas holdem players have learned to enjoy.